Toku Papa Tōku Pāpā

Author(s): Ruby Solly

NZ Poetry

When you first told me that you gave me the name of our tupuna so that I would be strong enough to hold our family inside my ribcage, I believed you. Here you are. Here is how I saw you, trapped in your own amber. Now it’s time for you to believe me. 
Tōku Pāpā is a book that serves as a map of survival for Māori growing up outside of their papakāika. These poems look at how we take the knowledge we are given by our ancestors and hide it beneath our tongues for safekeeping. They show us how we live with our tūpuna, without ever fully understanding them. This book encompasses a journey spanning generations, teaching us how to keep the home fires burning within ourselves when we have forgotten where our homes are. But have our homes forgotten us?

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'This book sings a song of connection and disconnection. It moves between the light and the dark as all living things must, and it stretches back to our ancestors and forward to our descendants, while exploring the difficulties of loving those who we should be closest to. This is a searching and generous collection of toikupu that slow time to a trickle just to reach in and tap directly into the wairua.' —essa may ranapiri 

‘Ruby is an incredible poet. Her poetry is utterly deft and agile, warm and heartbreaking.’ —Tayi Tibble, Toi Māori Aotearoa 

(Kāi Tahu, Waitaha, Kāti Māmoe) is a writer, musician and taonga pūoro practitioner living in Pōneke. She has been published in journals such as Landfall, Starling and Sport, among others. In 2020 she released her debut album, Pōneke, which looks at the soundscapes of Wellington’s past, present and future through the use of taonga pūoro, cello, and environmental sounds. She is currently completing a PhD in public health, focusing on the use of taonga pūoro in hauora Māori. Tōku Pāpā, published in Februrary 2021, is her first book. 

General Fields

  • : 9781776564125
  • : Victoria University Press
  • : Victoria University Press
  • : February 2021
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Ruby Solly